Stop Using Lemon Or Lime In Your Guacamole. Here's What To Do Instead.

Diners like to know what they're getting when ordering a popular dish, and different cuisines often guarantee specific flavors through traditional recipes that feature a combination of accepted and expected ingredients. When a chef improves a tried-and-true recipe by adding new flavors or using updated preparation methods, it's a notable event. But sometimes, omitting an ingredient that is unquestionably included in traditional recipes can cause an equally palatable epiphany.

Lemon and lime juice are the consummate additions to guacamole — called upon to add a citrusy zing while maintaining that vivid green hue. If you're a citrus fan, the pervasive flavor of the tart fruits is likely preferable but should be added with care as it can easily overwhelm a dish. Restaurants often include citrus juices in the popular dip to avoid serving up a bowl of brown guac, but eateries are often making big batches ahead of time and need extra help from the acidic fruits. Using a water seal to prevent oxidation is an equally effective method of keeping discoloration at bay without dousing your dish in lime juice and imparting strong flavors.

Avocados are beloved for their naturally unctuous texture, and this velvety mouthfeel often induces a conditioned need to add acid. While a citrus squeeze can cut through fatty flavors, it also begs the question: What's wrong with being rich? Sometimes, featuring the raw, natural essence of an ingredient is simply superior.

Keep it authentic

Using avocados as a topping or sauce likely originated from the ancient Aztec civilization, with the original recipe consisting simply of mashed avocados that likely included cultivated chile peppers. As exploration and trade increased globally, various cultures added ingredients from their native cuisine to the increasingly popular avocado sauce. Centuries of adding to the recipe led us to the dip we know and love today, which almost always includes a hefty amount of citrus.

Today's take on guacamole isn't approved by all, and there are plenty of chefs and home cooks who pride themselves on creating a more authentic version that highlights the delicious simplicity of an avocado with fewer ingredients. There's nothing subtle about the flavors of lemons and limes, and their acidic profile is often the first and last thing you taste when digging into guacamole. Nobody puts avocado in a corner, and the rich taste and texture of the unique fruit really shines when citrus flavors are omitted.

Mashed avocado with a sprinkle of salt does not equal guacamole, but instead of overwhelming your dip with the taste of lemon or lime, try supporting flavors that complement and enhance. Consider adding big flavor by mixing in chipotle chiles or poblano peppers. Chile peppers are a more traditional ingredient that elevates the buttery flavors of the green fruit. They also bring the heat you want from guacamole while highlighting the creamy, cooling essence of the avocado that is the star of the dish.